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The Surveillance Consensus: Reviewing the Politics of CCTV in Three European Countries

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Abstract

This article is inspired by Haggerty and Ericson's notion of the `surveillant assemblage', which draws on philosophical concepts of Deleuze and Guattari in order to analyse the dynamics of contemporary increasingly extensive and intensifying surveillance. The surveillant assemblage has a twofold character. On the one hand it aims to increase visibility and on the other hand it works invisibly, `beyond our normal range of perception'. The surveillant assemblage offers a surveillance consensus. To disentangle this consensus this article focuses particularly on CCTV as a technology that is still visible. We analyse three aspects of the surveillance consensus, namely, correlating with the aesthetical concept of consensus, what we call (after Luhmann) (1) the illusion of total inclusion, which is hardened by (2) media arrangements and eventually by (3) regulation. We will refer to these three aspects empirically along with examples from the development of CCTV in the UK, France and Germany.
The Surveillance Consensus
Reviewing the Politics of CCTV in Three European
Countries
Leon Hempel and Eric Töpfer
Center for Technology and Society, Technical University Berlin, Germany
ABSTRACT
This article is inspired by Haggerty and Ericson’s notion of the ‘surveillant
assemblage’, which draws on philosophical concepts of Deleuze and Guattari
in order to analyse the dynamics of contemporary increasingly extensive and
intensifying surveillance. The surveillant assemblage has a twofold character.
On the one hand it aims to increase visibility and on the other hand it works
invisibly, ‘beyond our normal range of perception’. The surveillant assemblage
offers a surveillance consensus. To disentangle this consensus this article focuses
particularly on CCTV as a technology that is still visible. We analyse three aspects
of the surveillance consensus, namely, correlating with the aesthetical concept
of consensus, what we call (after Luhmann) (1) the illusion of total inclusion,
which is hardened by (2) media arrangements and eventually by (3) regulation.
We will refer to these three aspects empirically along with examples from the
development of CCTV in the UK, France and Germany.
KEY WORDS
CCTV / France / Germany / Politics of Surveillance / UK.
Our cameras are here today providing your right to be seen and heard.
(Promotion at the Security and Prosperity Partnership summit in Montebello.
Quoted in Naomi Klein, The Guardian, 24 August 2007)
Volume 6 (2): 157–177: 1477-3708
DOI: 10.1177/1477370808100544
Copyright © 2009 European Society of
Criminology and SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC
www.sagepublications.com
158 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
Yes it works! No it doesn’t!1
The year 2008 began with an astonishing report from a German newswire
delivering the latest story on surveillance: ‘British police admits sub stantial
weaknesses of CCTV’ (Stefan Krempl, heise online news, 19 January 2008).
Only a few months before, in October 2007, the Home Office and the
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) had published a ‘National
CCTV Strategy’ (Gerrard et al. 2007) which raised some concerns about
the management and organization of the British CCTV infrastructure
but overall confirmed the usefulness of the technology as a crime fighting
tool. And yet the Deputy Chief Constable Graeme Gerrard, chairman of
the ACPO CCTV subcommittee and co-author of the ‘National Strategy’,
was admitting substantial weaknesses at a hearing in the House of Lords.
Had the police forces of the UK, the country that more than any other
has extensively installed CCTV in open streets to combat crime, suddenly
reverse their position? Or does Gerrard’s admission of CCTV’s weaknesses
simply indicate a new level of discussion? In fact, Gerrard acknowledged
first of all the issue of overstated expectations at the hearing in the House
of Lords Constitution Committee. His major concern went far beyond the
question of whether CCTV works or not, revealing the political dimension
of the issue of effectiveness:
Most of the pressure [for CCTV] comes from the public. … Some of them may get
disappointed … it doesn’t deter most crime. I think they [the people] are perhaps
misled in terms of the amount of crime that CCTV might prevent. (Quoted in Rosa
Prince, Telegraph, 19 January 2008)
Public pressure? Disappointment? Crime prevention? Misleading?
Gerrard certainly did not argue that CCTV was completely useless. He
pointed to failings of CCTV not in general but rather specifically with
regard to crime prevention. Since the London bombings of July 2005 this atti-
tude has been backed by public discourse about CCTV, which now places
less emphasis on crime prevention and more on the ability to prosecute
offenders on the basis of CCTV footage. It was just a matter of time before
this argument collapsed as well. Indeed, a few months after Gerrard’s state-
ment, Scotland Yard CCTV expert Mike Neville called CCTV an ‘utter
fiasco’, announcing that only 3 per cent of street robberies ‘had been solved
by using CCTV images’ as, among other reasons, 80 per cent of them is
of poor quality and thus useless (Telegraph, 6 May 2008). Regardless of
whether these reports were requests for further funding, a substantial dis-
crepancy has obviously opened up between what was promised by the
1 We borrow this phrase that indicates the ambivalent crime effects of CCTV from Ditton and
Short (1999).
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 159
assumed virtues of this technology and what has been achieved in reality. A
crack had appeared in the surveillance consensus. Though manufacturers,
politicians, the media, the public and researchers ‘have all been drivers for
the deployment of CCTV’ (Groombridge 2008: 77), it was in particular
the police that felt the pressure arising from the discrepancy between the
expected and actual benefits of CCTV. They immediately responded to the
perceived failure.
Gerrard’s and his colleagues’ intention was on the one hand to reduce
expectations while on the other hand maintaining the general believe in the
benefits of CCTV. The motif of effectiveness serves as a rhetorical means to
legitimize enduring surveillance. Stemming from a complexity of cultural,
social, economic and political issues the consensus that CCTV works has
been constructed through the media, audits, surveys, evaluations, legislation
and so forth. For instance, public acceptance rates for CCTV have been
widely used not only in the UK but throughout the world to promote the
deployment of security and surveillance technologies. In Germany just
recently an audit stated that 83 per cent of Berlin’s population wanted
more CCTV (Berliner Zeitung, 31 August 2007), a figure which has been
repeated ad nauseam by various stakeholders. Also various surveys have
con tinuously reported high levels of public support for the use of CCTV,
unfortunately, without giving any thought to their political impact. One of
the latest surveys on public attitudes towards CCTV – indeed carried out
on behalf of the UK Home Office – by Spriggs et al. (2005) indicated that
82 per cent of the respondents were ‘happy with’ the installation of CCTV
and 80 per cent even expected CCTV to reduce crime. Moreover, 63 per
cent believed that due to CCTV there is now a smaller number of young
people hanging around, 69 per cent were convinced that people report
more incidents and 56 per cent that with CCTV the police is able to respond
more quickly (Spriggs et al. 2005). What do these number mean? Do they
have anything to do with CCTV? Given that these numbers represent what
is called public attitudes, with Gerrard’s statement and the various findings
of evaluations and meta-evaluations in mind, they imply that not less than
four out of five respondents are wrong and thus deceived with regard to the
impact that CCTV has on crime and criminal justice.
Over the last decades the UK Home Office has spent more than three-
quarters of its crime prevention budget on funding CCTV and an estimated
£500 million of public money has been invested in the CCTV infrastructure
(Murakami Wood 2006: 19). Moreover, it is reported that of the five London
boroughs with the most cameras, four have a crime-solving record that is
below average (Evening Standard, 19 September 2007). And finally, 90 per
cent of cameras violate the Information Commissioner’s Code of Practice
on the use of CCTV cameras (Telegraph, 2 June 2007). Given these facts,
160 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
the statements of Neville and Gerrard turn out to be acknowledgements of
a serious political scandal: the UK government has obviously ‘undermined
civil liberties for no apparent reason’, as David Davis admitted in his spon-
taneous reply to Gerrard during the hearing. Ever since the widespread
introduction of CCTV in the UK there have been questions regarding its
effectiveness and the value-for-money. Many scholars and critical observers
have articulated concerns regarding the discriminative potential of CCTV
and its implications for civil liberties; but these concerns have been more or
less ignored for more than a decade. However, the scandal is not just about
the mere ignorance of some individual politicians, who have ignored the
warnings, it is also not just that the people have been ‘perhaps misled’, as
Gerrard fears. Paying heed only to these most immediately visible aspects
means staying at the level of accusation and blame and thereby risking the
distortions of reductionism. At the core of the politics of CCTV lies the
ques tion of how, against all implausibility, CCTV has become not only a
reality but first of all an unquestioned agreement among politicians, police
and the people. How do liberal governments actually come to implement
surveillance measures that continuously derogate democratic liberties and
political rights? What are the systems of truth and justification? How is it
possible that the sacrifice of liberty for personal security is not seen as a
sacrifice that risks personal security?
Envisioning the surveillance consensus
Various scholars have pointed out that new forms of surveillance challenge
conventional approaches to the theory of surveillance in terms of Foucault’s
notion of the panopticon (Lyon 2006b). But the critique of Foucault’s trans-
formative reading of Bentham’s famous architectural regime of (in)visibility
has led to various reconfigured frameworks for understanding contem-
porary surveillance, either overbidding the original model, e.g. Poster’s
(1990) ‘super-panopticon’, or trying to leave it behind, e.g. Boyne’s (2000)
‘post-panopticon’. Mathiesen’s (1997) notion of the ‘synopticon’ goes a
step further, contrasting Foucault’s dispositif of the ‘panopticon’ – in which
a few control the many, thereby emphasising self-discipline – with the
synoptic character of the ‘viewer’s society,’ where many watch the few by
media coverage in the press, on television and the Internet. Furthermore,
Bigo’s (2006a) notion of the ‘ban-opticon’ opposes the view of scholars that
contemporary surveillance is scrutinizing entire populations. This vision,
Bigo (2006a: 35) argues, ‘is only the dream of a few agents of power, even if
the rhetoric after September 11 articulates a “total” information’. Instead,
he insists, only the few profiled as “unwelcome” are monitored by a few’.
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 161
Within post-September 11 discussions on the state of exception,
the ban-opticon is characterized by three major aspects: (1) ‘the way it
excludes certain groups in the name of their future potential behavior’;
(2) ‘the exceptionalism of power (rules of emergency and their tendency to
become permanent)’; and (3) ‘the production of normative imperatives’ that
‘normalizes the non-excluded’ (Bigo 2006a: 35). What makes this especially
interesting is not that the ban-opticon may ‘deflect attention from the routine
technologies of control’ (Lyon 2006a: 12) nor that it stresses profiling and
dataveillance, which it does to a certain degree; rather, the visibility of
ex clusion vanishes, while the power of exception and the production of
normative imperatives amalgamate into a ‘governmentality’ of uncertainty,
unease, fear and (in)security. Marx (2002) has characterized new surveil-
lance as having a tendency to become abstract. It is this abstract character
of new surveillance that almost invalidates opposition. The ban-opticon
‘banalizes’ both ‘the exception’ (Bigo 2006b: 47) and the technologies of
surveillance, so ‘that nobody (including the judges) asks for their legitimacy
and their efficiency after a certain period of time’ (2006b: 49). Indeed,
the aim of the ‘surveillant assemblage’ (Haggerty and Ericson 2000) is
its invisibilisation as every visible sign of it, including cameras, indicates
borders, conflict and exclusion, and thus would challenge the surveillance
consensus. Hence, to prevent threats is only one side of the proactivity of
the ban-opticon; the other is to prevent its visibility by demonstrating in
the mass media its effectiveness to mitigate threats, which in turn become
omnipresent.
The notions of synopticon and ban-opticon both merge the various
drivers of surveillance with the viewer society for the sake of more (in)security,
creating a consensus that ensures the routinization of surveillance practices,
generates ubiquitous images of threat and suspicion, and finally guarantees
that the spread of surveillance develops into a ‘global fifth utility’ that is as
invisible – unless the cameras are seen – as power, gas, waste and communi-
cation and self-evident in its permanent production of exclusion (Graham
1998; Norris et al. 2004). The consensus produces a reality that is identical
with the pre-structured normality of the non-excluded, a simulacrum of
an overarching visibility in which exclusion is first subjected to invisibility
and, second, the many follow the comfortable illusion of a total inclusion.
Therefore, liberal societies can approve of their own self-image, in which,
according to its main imperative of mobility, everybody is free to offer their
labour to the market or to follow commodified life in a culture of capital-
ism. As Bigo (2006a) stresses, the ban-opticon, unlike Foucault’s panopti-
con, does not immobilize bodies under an analytic gaze but rather claims
mobility for all.
162 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
In the following we aim to disentangle the surveillance consensus by
briefly reviewing the rise of CCTV in the UK, France and Germany. The
different speeds and methods of adoption point to variations in cultural,
political, legal, political and economic traditions within these jurisdictions,
for instance in regard to attitudes towards privacy and what is seen as the
duty of the state, the community and the citizen (Marx 1995). At the same
time there are common trends among these countries, such as the com-
modification of urban space and everyday life, also converting privacy and
personal data into tradeable goods, and the changing public perception of
security and risk that are corresponding with the governance of unease,
fear and (in)security. In all three of these countries, deviant behaviour has
been correlated with crime, crime with terrorism and terrorism with war,
which ushered the ‘preventive turn’ (Narr 1998) from public safety policies
to internal security policies that complement the logic of reactive repression
with one of proactive prevention. All these trends, which can be traced back
hi storically as far as the 1970s, are part of the forging of the surveillance
consensus. However, the variations in speed and the different methods of
adoption of public CCTV in the UK, France and Germany allow for some
insight into the creation of this consensus. We want to focus particularly on
three different aspects that seem to be most relevant to understanding the
contemporary surveillance consensus. First, the postulate of total inclusion
in advanced modern societies that blinds out CCTV as a technically medi-
ated practice of social exclusion. Second, the massive impact of the media
in shaping the consensus. Third, the process of affirmative regulation that
does not limit or control surveillance but dissolves the boundaries of its
control.
Total inclusion: setting the scene of exclusion
The first permanent public CCTV scheme started operating in 1985,
monitor ing the promenade of the English seaside town of Bournemouth.
The town was hosting the annual Conservative Party Conference, which the
previous year had been marked by an IRA attack in which five people were
killed and many more injured (Norris et al. 2004: 111). Often overlooked
in surveillance research is the fact that public area CCTV was as quickly
adopted across the Channel in France. Although Levallois-Perret is most
often cited as the first French city, developing an 86-camera network since
1991, it seems that Hyères, again a seaside resort at the Côtes d’Azur, had
already installed a large-scale CCTV system to combat street crime in the
late 1980s (Töpfer and Helten 2005: 48). In Germany, compared to the UK
and France, the proliferation took place more hesitantly and moderately,
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 163
the Saxonian city of Leipzig starting the first four-week trial with police
video surveillance in April 1996, monitoring the area around the central
rail way station in an effort to combat drug-related ‘street crime’. After it
had been declared a ‘success’ by the local police department, the temporary
instal lation was made permanent and expanded (Müller 1997). Around the
same time, the police on the island of Sylt, northern Germany, utilized a
surveillance camera in a pedestrian zone of the seaside resort Westerland,
this time to protect tourists from misbehaving teenagers and punks (Töpfer
2005: 5). Terrorism, crime, deviant behaviour – the whole spectrum of
contexts of public CCTV was already covered by the first systems.
Is it a coincidence that in all three countries, with the exception of
Leipzig, the first schemes were installed not in major crime-suffering cities
but at seaside resorts? Surely it is not. We have to consider the specific cases
to understand the consensus in its beginnings, which will also shed light on
the eventual proliferation of CCTV. What makes Sylt a case of particular
interest, besides the fact that we have empirical data on it, is that its status as
an exclusive tourist site means that it is somewhat off the German political
map, which in 1996 was characterized by a diminishing hope that the econ-
omy would recover quickly from the burden of reunification. Although
the highly unpopular ‘Agenda 2010’ of Helmut Kohl’s successor Gerhard
Schröder had not yet come about, on the German mainland, the model of
German Rhine capitalism seemed well beyond its expiry date. The rising
demand for substantial reforms both reflected and contributed to fears that
the prosperity West Germans had been used to since the postwar period
was over for good and that East Germans would not have the chance to
benefit from the prosperity that they had hoped for in 1989. Additionally,
the introduction of a common European currency and thus the end of the
Deutsche Mark was a momentous and sometimes frightening event.
Given this situation, Sylt, known as ‘the isle of the beautiful and rich’,
appeared to be a microcosm in which life still proceeded in peace. Therefore,
the introduction of a single camera was hardly noticed. Compared to Leipzig,
the issue was completely uncontested. Holiday-makers had complained
about disturbances by loitering punks and drunken youngsters visiting the
island. The local administrators worried that the town’s image would be
damaged and therefore called for a partnership, which included the police,
local businesses and social workers. Private security guards began to patrol
the beach while the social workers established relationships with the youths,
and CCTV was installed at the central plaza of Westerland.
The objective of this new regime of policing on Sylt is clearly not only
to protect tourists from deviant youths. In fact the aim of the managers was
to prevent adolescents from establishing the island as a hang out and trans-
forming it into a ‘cheap place’. Although ultimately unsuccessful, efforts
164 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
were even made to convince the national railway company Deutsche Bahn to
discontinue special offers that allowed young people to travel to Westerland
for a reduced price of DEM 35 (Die Welt, 16 March 1996).
Whether the juveniles’ behaviour was perceived as some kind of
exces sive individualism, moral degeneracy or even social illness within this
particular consensual environment of peacefulness and wealth was irrele-
vant once their behaviour threatened the economics of tourism. A line was
drawn, and policing that line now meant identifying and sorting desirable
tourists from undesirable ones based on a calculus: exclusiveness versus
non-exclusiveness, young people with economic capabilities versus those
without. The tourist site is the perfect illustration of a capitalist idyll, based
on an aesthetic and socio-economic consensus. First of all, and this is true
for all types of tourism, it is a reward system available to those in the higher
levels of society. According to the adjusted underlying aesthetical arrange-
ments of tourism, status can be staged among equals. Socio-economic differ-
ences are eliminated as far as possible. The ‘police order’ objectifies this
rule. Referring to Rancière, it marks a certain ‘partition of the sensible,’
not founding but confirming first of all an exclusive topological ‘order of
visibility and sayability’ that allocates bodies according to their ‘names’ and
‘activities’. The police order is in charge to ensure that ‘this activity is visible
while those others not, that this word is understood as speech and those
others as noise’ (Rancière 2002: 41). It ensures that those who do not count
stay mute and that those who count form the population as a social whole,
which in fact is a divided community.
Furthermore, the police order confirms the implicit agreement of
sur veillance being the best means to ensure the aesthetical and economic
setting of the scene. Accordingly, the consensus to implement CCTV in Sylt
had three dimensions: first, a desire to disrupt or eliminate deviant behavi-
our; second, an agreement on a specific surveillance regime; and third, legit-
imation of the solution as it substantiates the existing order. The result is
that exclusion was excluded from general perception.
In Luhmann’s (1996) terms, the dynamic of exclusion and inclusion
is delegated to functional differentiation. Sub-systems (e.g. cheap tourism)
ensure the inclusion of those that are excluded from another (exclusive) tour-
ism. Therefore, though exclusion takes place the ideological construction of
total inclusion allows one to believe that it does not take place, which is an
apt description of the way that contemporary liberal democracies function.
‘As under these entire conditions participation is still possible,’ as Luhmann
(1996: 230) argues, ‘one devotes oneself to an illusion of a state of inclusion
never achieved before’. Neither those noisy fellows who do not count nor
the mechanisms of exclusion are visible. Instead, the removal of a certain
group from the sight of the beautiful and rich fully confirms a spatial order
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 165
and therefore resists objection. This finds its manifestation in the elevated
camera which first of all represents the ‘tourist gaze’ (Urry 2002); i.e.
seeing what that gaze expects to see. And exactly what those expectations
are is shaped by traditions, the media and commercial advertisements,
inscribed into the image production of the police order that, as part of an
institutionalized partnership between local public and private agencies,
distinguishes between acceptable and unacceptable images. Thus, quite
literally, the camera itself produces the images that the tourists wish to take
home on their cameras according to their pre-formed expectations.
The ‘partition of the sensible’ produces a reality completely identical
with itself, making Sylt a telling example for the surveillance consensus. The
introduction of CCTV remained uncontested; neither its adequacy nor its
legality was questioned. By the end of 1990s, the camera was deemed no
longer necessary, and the system was dismantled by the tourism managers.
Its continuing visibility was a sign of an exception that was undesirable
in sofar as it indicated a border and thus a conflict within a space where
dif fer ences ideally do not exist. Thus, the status quo ante, an illusion of
total inclusion, which is a status of invisible exclusion, was regained when
the surveil lance measure finally vanished from the tourist gaze, demanding
surveil lance without being disturbed by surveillance. Seaside resorts, aside
from political struggles, islands of absolute consumerism, seem to be the
perfect test arenas for surveillance, not because of higher ac cept ance, which
would imply whatever kind of consideration and public consciousness,
but because they are aesthetical, socio-political diagrams of a surveillance
consensus in more or less privatized public areas that exclude resistance and
politics.
The media staging of the surveillance consensus
The debate over the commodification of urban space can also be understood
as a transfer of the surveillance consensus from the tourist site to cities.
There is probably no city council that introduced CCTV in the early 1990s
without proposing that cameras within inner cities would increase tourism.
Conversely, it is obvious that implementing CCTV in urban environments
is different than in tourist destinations. In cities, the postulate of total in-
clu sion, which consequently makes exclusion invisible, is fragile and chal-
lenged constantly. In the case of CCTV, the challenges come from two sides,
both nourishing our feelings of (in)security: first from crime and dis order;
and second, from what has been called the return of the poor and repressed
(who in turn become criminalized, and so we turn full circle) (Christie 1993;
Wacquant 2008). At the edges of the sub-systems, as Luhmann (1996, 1998)
166 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
has put it, exclusion again becomes visible. The promise of total inclusion
cannot be kept. Additional efforts to force the surveillance consensus are
needed and found in extending the partnerships to systems of knowledge
production, namely media and science, under the central topic of (in)security.
Propagating threats of crime, terrorism, war and natural catastrophes
and thus evoking the element of fear perfectly binds together mobile
individuals inhibiting an increasingly complex world in a simulacrum of
global community. This archaic mechanism has been expressed in the
original frontispiece of Hobbes’ Leviathan and has been used repeatedly
to forge alliances in the after math of 9/11; but it was also popular during
elections campaigns, whether in Germany, France, the UK or elsewhere, at
both national and local political levels. Therefore, as many scholars have
argued in respect to 9/11, propagating (in)security is due less to exaggerated
feelings in the first place than to a governance of unease (Bigo 2006b). In
face of the use of purely propagandistic means in legitim ization of the Iraq
war, Rancière (2004) noted:
It is not some felt insecurity which made the war necessary. Rather, the war was
necessary to impose insecurity. Indeed, the management of insecurity is the most
adequate way for our consensual State societies to function.
In the context of CCTV, crime and terrorism are the most important
contexts to propagate its use. Camera surveillance is anything but new,
but its wide and permanent deployment was limited more or less to private
spaces such as banks, petrol stations, and so on. Notably, how ever, since
the early 1990s, CCTV has spread out visibly into the public realm, and
cameras are now connected to public efforts to combat crime, which means
they have achieved a public value that is immediately reflected in the media.
Yet, especially in the UK, any critical debate seemed to be banned from
the beginning. Although the press did report the expansion of CCTV, in
contrast to France and Germany, the dominant discourse in the UK, as
Norris and Armstrong (1999) have shown, was ‘emphasizing effective ness’,
‘downplaying displacement’ and stating: ‘your liberties are safe with us’
(McCahill and Norris March 2002: 34). Moreover it has been well reported
that the breakthrough of CCTV in the UK took place in 1993/4 under
the constantly broadcasted footage of the murderers of the Liverpudlian
toddler James Bulger. On air for several days, the sequence convinced the
British public of the usefulness of CCTV. The interaction of surveillance and
television proved powerfully effective: television quite literally visualized the
belief that surveillance could be a silver bullet to be used against crime, and
any further public discussion of its actual use was subjected to the media
staging. Advice from the Home Office’s guidebook CCTV: Looking Out For
You, published in the context of the first round of the City Competition a
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 167
year after the murder of the Liverpudlian toddler, underlines the importance
of the media as the dominant driver in the creation of the consensus:
Get the local press on your side early and get a key player on your committee
from the start. Ensure they realise what your objectives are, and focus them on the
shopping/walking element … it is also useful to give a high profile to all convictions
secured as a result of CCTV. Local press and TV should be constantly reminded of
the numbers who plead guilty and are convicted because of the cameras. (Quoted
in Norris and Armstrong 1999: 75)
According to this advice, media communicate the idea of implementing
a socio-technical measure to the public. It refers to the role that media play
in promoting public support and consensual acceptance of surveillance.
Being familiar with the power of media, the advice emphasizes that this
is done not only by content, but by the how, the form in which a measure
like CCTV is presented. Public opinion is never arbitrary but rather shaped.
Media construct the understanding of what they are presenting. The mak-
ing of news implies for the majority of people the power of defining what
is of significance. Even before an issue has been picked up by a journalist
and transferred in one of the diverse media forms, the level of production
describes the coding of significances and thus prearranges the level of
reception. In this respect the advice is a perfect illustration of how the
partition of the sensible takes place. The Home Office ensures the objectives
of CCTV. The advice is a precise instruction on how to stage the camera as
an actor in public perception, framing it in a context of public concern: the
public element is sharply contrasted with the opposing element of crime,
which CCTV will now, for the sake of public safety and protection, keep
an eye on. Thus in this media arrangement CCTV is immediately connected
to the public. The camera itself marks the borderline between the public
world and the world of crime, which under the gaze of the electronic eye
becomes manifest, countable in ‘numbers’ and consequently controllable by
the rationality of the police order. The usefulness of the friendly eye is thus
completely set. Its effectiveness and its legitimacy can remain unquestioned.
Moreover, the rhetorical calculus makes reference to the apparent fact that
crime is a threat to the public. Within this assumption lies a hidden rationale
for constituting public identity within a circle of total inclusion, which, in
the newly rearranged setting, the camera is itself proof of.
In other words, before CCTV became a reality of everyday life it first
of all became a part of news stories and nationwide television shows. For in-
stance, in Germany it is possible to trace back and see that until CCTV was
officially declared by the Ministers of Interior of the Länder in 2000 as an
appropriate tool for fighting crime, the first deployment of camera systems
in Leipzig and on Sylt constantly served as references for each other when
168 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
proponents wished to claim effectiveness and minimize concerns about
data protection and privacy: CCTV is ‘well received among the people’ was
the invariable assertion (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 26 August 1999, emphasis
added). In other words, the tourists on Sylt were taken to be the voice of the
social whole, despite the fact that even during prosperous times the numbers
of those tourists are limited, not to mention that they generally come from
a particular (exclusive) sector of society. Given this strategy, the parameters
of public debate had already been (narrowly) defined. The common belief
in the functioning of technology, correlating with the desire to delegate as
much responsibility as possible to technology meant that seemingly objective
societal aspirations of inclusion fostered the desire to join what had already
previously been settled as consensus. Unsurprisingly, public support was
con firmed by audits and polls, which showed acceptance rates of between
70 and 90 per cent, these figures being then continually copied and cited by
journalists, as numerous examples show.
Rancière (2002: 112) calls public opinion a ‘false counting’, as it
equates the people with the counting of a part and identifies behaviour with
what is staged as public opinion (Krasmann, forthcoming). Thus within the
context of surveillance, the task of the media is not only to bring a particular
technology across but to harden the consensus in the first place. But this is
only one side of the coin. Rancière (2002: 112) asks: ‘What then implies
the identification of the democratic opinion with polls and simulations? It
is the actual withdrawal of the sphere of the people’s appearance.’ Thus,
the people as political entity (‘demos’) vanish in the counting of its media
representation. No intervention and dissent gets beyond mere articulation.
The people disappears as it stays ‘captured in a structure of visibility, a
struc ture, in which one sees every thing and everything is seen, and in which
therefore no space for the appearance is left’ (Rancière 2002: 112–13).
In the UK the massive deployment of CCTV in the 1990s was promoted
as a common effort of the British people and government to combat crime.
Slogans such as ‘Together we’ll crack it’ emphasized the collective impetus
of this effort. The much-vaunted British virtue of common sense, which
trad itionally linked issues of the private and public spheres, was reduced to
its appellative moral function while its discursive structure, confronted with
the continuing problem of combating crime, was completely derogated.
Therefore, the incompatible conclusions of criminologists were not able to
provoke any kind of rethinking. Instead, an evaluation and survey campaign
was created by the Home Office to ‘back up’ the consensus by scientific ex-
pertise. To give only one example: the outcomes of a recent survey on public
perceptions of CCTV in residential areas seem to demonstrate that people
are becoming aware of the overstated promises. Nonetheless, the authors
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 169
conclude their report by repeating exactly what was promised in the first
place – that CCTV is a tool to fight crime:
Although CCTV remains popular, it is neither the threat to civil liberties nor the
silver bullet that some had thought. It is evident that it is not being properly used,
and society still has to learn to maximize its value as a crime fighting tool. This
does need urgent attention; it was oversold in the beginning, and reduced support
reflects evidence that the public is on to this. (Gill et al. 2007: 323)
Ambivalent regulation: enacting the surveillance
consensus
The rule of law is an integral part of the self-conception of liberal demo-
cracies. Wherever a lack of regulation becomes manifest, the demand for
regulation, i.e., for establishing a predictable order is articulated. Even
though the requirement for order can be answered in different ways, to
limit arbitrariness is the main task of any regulation. That this purpose of
regulation does not necessarily result in a limitation of opaque surveillance
regimes but can eventually stabilize a surveillance consensus is discussed in
the following.
Although it is true that the expansion of CCTV in the UK took place
without limitation by privacy or data protection acts (Maguire 1998), it
was, however, framed by legislation: Section 163 of the UK Criminal Justice
and Public Order Act 1994 explicitly authorized local authorities to deploy
CCTV ‘on any land in their area’. Moreover, the act released the authorities
from their obligation to pay expensive license fees for laying CCTV cables
pay able under the Telecommunications Act, which had been a crucial
cost factor in the previous years (Töpfer 2007: 204). Privacy concerns
only surfaced in 1998 when the House of Lords recommended ‘that the
Govern ment give urgent consideration to introducing tighter control over
any system, either publicly or privately owned, covering sites to which the
public has free access’ (House of Lords Select Committee on Science and
Tech nology, Digital Images as Evidence: Eighth Report, 1998, quoted in
Taylor 2007: 52). As Gras (2004) argues, ‘the tenor of debate’ has indeed
changed since then. The European Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC)
was implemented in 1998 by the UK Data Protection Act (DPA) 2000 and
represents the first statuary regulation of CCTV surveillance in public spaces
in the UK (Taylor 2007).
Although it does not specifically address the use of CCTV, the deci sion
in the Durant v Financial Services Authority case of 2003 serves as a good
example of what the DPA regulation implies. The Appeal Court refused
access to certain records concerning a dispute between Durant and Barclays
170 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
Bank held by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), on the grounds that
the data did not comply with the definition of personal data. According
to the court, in order to qualify as such and be able to be subject to a
complaint, the data ‘must be information that affected his privacy, whether
in his personal or family life, business or professional capacity’. Com menting
on the decision, the human rights organization Liberty concluded that:
‘Mr Durant had not been able to show that the information was close enough
to this standard’ (Crossman et al. 2007: 38). Referring to Section 1(1) of the
DPA, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (2006: 2) argued:
In the Durant case the Court of Appeal did not consider the issue of the identifiability
of an individual.This is often the starting point in developing an understanding of
personal data. Instead, the Court of Appeal in this case concentrated on the mean-
ing of ‘relate to’ in that definition, identifiability not being an issue in the case.
Thus, according to the court, privacy is first of all a relational term,
and does not refer to the individual as such. Instead, it seems connected
to property. In the German tradition the same is true, but with a decisive
dif fer ence. Beyond the understanding of property in relation to the private
home or business, information privacy in the German context (Recht auf
auf informationelle Selbstbestimmung) seems to be based on the notion ‘pro-
perty in one’s self’. Property in one’s self is understood as a pre condition
of freedom and recognition as a legal person; and it remains untouched
wherever a person is located. Thus, while leaving the private sphere and
entering the public realm means in the UK becoming sub jected to public
rules, in Germany, and elsewhere on the continent, the distinction between
the public and the private is not drawn as strictly and clearly. Instead, the
individual self can lay claim to being private in public as well, and indeed
this is, as Dahrendorf (2007) argues, seen as evidence of liberty. While the
DPA focuses on the protection of individual privacy, the court decision
was based on a view of privacy as not encompassing more than the private
home and the business or the professional capacity of an individual. Thus
it must be asked – aside from considerations of poor compliance in prac-
tice (Taylor 2007) – whether the DPA was really a step forward in terms
of a mode of regulation that limits surveillance. According to the decision
of the Court of Appeal the DPA appears to codify an understanding of
privacy that made the mass introduction of CCTV in public spaces possible,
despite the social and political concerns around privacy.
The French experience can help to clarify the role of regulation. Fol-
low ing the installation of the Hyères’ public area CCTV system, the mayor
of Avignon announced a plan to install a network of 93 public surveil-
lance cameras which, in contrast to Hyères, was supposed to record CCTV
images. But the plan was contested by a minority in the city council and
chal lenged in court. In June 1990, the administrative court of Marseille
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 171
ruled against the mayor’s plan and decided that permanent and extensive
CCTV surveillance of public areas constituted an infringement of the right
to privacy and the right to one’s own image. However, it also ruled that
Avignon’s plans for an analogue surveillance system did not fall under the
responsibility of the national data protection commission, the Commission
Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), and that the scope of
the Data Protection Act of 1978 only covered matters of automated data
pro cessing. Thus, the court made clear, on the one hand, that CCTV sur-
veillance may, under certain conditions (in the Avignon case, because of the
system’s capacity to record footage), collide with the right to privacy. On the
other hand, it indicated that authorities opting for public area surveillance
entered an unregulated field and legal grey area (Töpfer and Helten 2005).
It took five years until the creation of a legal framework ended this
unclear situation. In 1993, a coalition government of Gaullist (Rassemble-
ment pour la République [RPR]) and Conservatives (Union pour la Démo-
cratie Française [UDF]) under the Prime Minister Edouard Balladur came to
power after five years of socialist government. In the Département Hauts-
de-Seine, political homeland of the new Minister for Interior, Charles
Pasqua, his political ally Patrick Balkany, mayor of Levallois-Perret, an
affluent suburb of Paris, had, since 1991, been developing a 96-camera
network. Although the CNIL, struggling for influence, symbolically (as the
system was operating without recording facilities) approved this system, it
sparked not only local protests but a nation-wide controversy. In an effort
to arbitrate the dispute two members of the Senate drafted a report that
concluded that CCTV is only legal if seen as necessary for police action,
traffic management or, in the case of private but publicly acces sible premises,
if meant to enforce house rules. They recommended an amendment to the
Data Protection Act and the handing over of the approval of CCTV systems
to the supervision of the CNIL.
The results were not as expected. Spurred by the violent protests of
youths and trade unionists against the ‘reform’ of minimum wages for
young people that rocked the nation in March 1994, Pasqua pushed his
Loi d’orientation et programmation relative à la sécurité no 95–73 (LOPS)
through parliament in January 1995. One of the new measures and police
powers legalized and regulated by the ‘Loi Pasqua’ was the video surveillance
of both public areas and private but publicly accessible premises – if deployed
for the purpose to protect public buildings and institutions, or if targeting
areas with a high risk of being the target of criminal activity. According to
Article 10 LOPS and further administrative regulations, any installation of
CCTV in such areas had to be approved by the Prefects as representatives of
the national government in the Départements on the basis of an opinion by
the newly created Commission Départementale de Vidéosurveillance (CDV)
172 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
instead of the CNIL. These commissions were to comprise two judges (one
judge acting as chairman), one elected local councillor, one member of the
local chamber of commerce and one engineer. They were to assess the plans
for new CCTV installations and their justification, to find an opinion by
majority vote and to report their decision to the Prefect who is in charge
of licensing the systems. Critics point to the biased composition of these
commissions, the opaque process of nominating their members and note
that proper checkups of license applications are hardly guaranteed, given
the fact that only the two judges are paid for their CDV responsibilities
(Bausch 2004; Gras 2004: 222–3).
Seven years after the passage of LOPS, demands for CCTV surveillance
were fuelled by the then Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy who, after election
campaigns for the president’s office and the national assembly in 2002
were dominated by law and order issues, presented a massive programme
to combat crime. ‘Tolerance zéro’ was the leitmotif of this program that
targeted, among others, street sex workers, ‘aggressive begging’ and youth
gangs. To implement his program, Sarkozy announced £5.6 billion in finance
for the modernization of law enforcement, with video surveillance being
one of the ‘sensitive quarters’. Authorized by the ‘Loi Pasqua’ and partly
funded by central government money, between 250 and 300 municipalities
have opted for public area CCTV since 1995 – in particular municipalities
in larger urban centres such as Paris, Lyon, Nice, Montpellier, Toulon,
Lille, Mulhouse and Nancy (Töpfer and Helten 2005). In January 2006,
the French Parliament passed an Act for Combating Terrorism and Border
Control (Loi relative à la lutte contre le terrorisme et portant dispositions
diverses relatives à la sécurité et aux contrôles frontaliers n° 2006–64) that
expanded the legal framework for the deployment of surveillance cameras.
Minister Sarkozy was explicit in his references to the UK CCTV experience
and the importance of CCTV footage to the eventual identification of those
behind the London bombings in July 2005. While every company and insti-
tution is permitted to monitor the public space surrounding their premises,
the French police can now deploy cameras for four months without the
need for a warrant.
In July 2007, two months after Sarkozy was elected President, the
new Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie unveiled plans to expand the
French CCTV infrastructure by tripling the number of surveillance cameras
by 2009, and to integrate existing systems by authorizing real-time police
access – in particular, access to the thousands of strong camera networks of
the transport corporations SNCF and RATP and major retailers – in order
to ‘cover as much territory as possible’ (quoted in Florian Rötzer, heise
online news, 26 July 2007). To achieve this aim Alliot-Marie announced
that a new Framework Bill for Internal Security (Loi d’orientation et de
Hempel and Töpfer The surveillance consensus 173
programmation de Sécurite intérieure) would be introduced in 2008 as the
final step in the development of the legislation.
In the context of our discussion, the significance of the French regu-
lation is that it does not limit but affirms and legalizes an increasingly
unlimited CCTV surveillance. Thus the legislation does not abridge fortuity
and combat the arbitrariness of unregulated development, but erodes the
existing law. Current legislation in this respect is best seen as a means for
implementing the desire for unlimited observation and surveillance. This
is all but a mere tendency. Lyon (2004: 144) argues that ‘to relax the
limitations on previ ously stricter laws, such as those to do with wiretapping
or indeed any mes sage interception’, has to be seen ‘as one consequence of
9/11 and the proliferation of antiterrorist legislation’ more or less across the
world. Such a derogation of law can take place on different levels. Ericson
(2007: 387) has recently introduced the idea of ‘counter-law’, which has
two aspects:
Counter-law I takes the form of passing laws that negate the traditional principles,
standards and procedures of criminal law. Counter-law II takes the form of
surveillance infrastructures that facilitate direct behavioral control and self-
policing without recourse to legal regulation.
CCTV combines both forms. In France anti-terrorism legislation has
served to globalize its infrastructure as a whole and has widened its deploy-
ment within the country. As Ericson (2007: 388) argues, ‘[t]he counter-law
regime is designed to cast the net as widely as possible’ and more import-
antly ‘there is not even a pretense of what might be termed probabilis reus:
criminalization on the basis of actuarial knowledge of risk.’
Conclusion
‘Politics,’ as Rancière (2006) notes, ‘is when you create a kind of stage
where you include your enemy’. Politics in this sense does not refer to the
formal institutions of government and voting in its usual sense and cannot
be reduced to the mere interests of diverse social groups. Rancière’s politics
stems from the silenced position of the unarticulated and excluded. They
articulate conflict, dissent and disagreement on the ‘partition of the sensible’
that determine who and what is seen and heard on that stage (Rancière
2002). But this stage is increasingly determined by a ‘police order’, which,
according to Rancière, also cannot be reduced to a mere organization as
we usually understand it. Foucault’s notion of the police controlling the
discourse (Krasmann, forthcoming) is corresponding with the ban-opticon
dispositif of a viewer society as it replaces the political through an internal
174 European Journal of Criminology 6(2)
and external management of the stage. This management aims to silence
dissent over the actual partition of the sensible and, thus, produces consensus
by eliminating conflict in response to the demands of the non-excluded.
The increasing impossibility of articulating dissent and disagreement lies
at the core of Rancière’s political thinking, and gives him reason to call
our contemporary society post-democratic. The remaining question then
is whether the emergence of the so-called surveillance society is the other
side of this post-democratic society? The notion refers to the efforts of
the ‘Surveillance Study Network’, which published on behalf of the UK
Information Commissioner a ‘Report on the Surveillance Society’ in 2006.
This report drew attention to the dangers of surveillance and led to the
hearing where our introductory anecdote on overstated expectations took
place. After a year long inquiry, the Home Affairs Committee rejected ‘crude
characterizations of our society as a surveillance society’, despite noting
that ‘the potential for surveillance of citizens in public spaces and private
com munications has increased to the extent that ours could be described as
a surveillance society unless trust in the Government’s intentions in relation
to data and data sharing is preserved’ (House of Commons, Home Affairs
Committee 2008: 10). However, there are neither reasons to worry nor
reasons to be complacent about the Committee’s conclusion, even in face
of common trends of automatization, function creep and integration of
surveillance systems. Instead, the statement should be read as an urgent
call for greater visibility and vocalization in order to crack the current
surveillance consensus.
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Leon Hempel
Dr. Leon Hempel studied Political Science and Comparative Literature
and is a senior researcher at the Center for Technology and Society of the
Technical University Berlin, Germany. His research areas are sociology of
technology and innovation, security and surveillance studies as well as
evaluation methodology. He is the editor of the forthcoming Regimes of
Visibility: Surveillance – Security and Privacy in the 21st Century.
hempel@ztg.tu-berlin.de
Eric Töpfer
Eric Töpfer is a political scientist and a senior researcher at the Center for
Technology and Society of the Technical University Berlin, Germany. His
research interests include surveillance studies, transformations in policing
and the computerization of police work. Recent publications: Kontrollierte
Urbanität. Zur Neoliberalisierung städtischer Sicherheitspolitik (transcript
Verlag, 2007, co-edited with Volker Eick and Jens Sambale); ‘Mobile Daten –
begrenzte Kontrolle. Auf dem Weg zum europäischen Informationsverbund’,
in Bürgerrechte & Polizei/CILIP 91 (2008).
toepfer@ztg.tu-berlin.de
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The paper examines factors that shape citizens’ attitudes towards closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in public places. Using survey data from 570 university students from St.Petersburg (Russia), we show that the majority of young people approve the use of cameras for surveillance in public spaces. Findings suggest that males hold amore negative view towards cameras compared to females, while income, victimization status, and perceived level of disorder do not predict support for cameras. However, fear of crime, privacy considerations, and police legitimacy are all strongly related to cameras’ acceptance. Further, trust in the effectiveness of surveillance technology partially mediates the effect of these factors and predicts a higher level of acceptance. Findings have important implications for improving police-citizen relations and building a foundation for effective security coproduction in the new digital age.
... They found that all of these countries passed laws that expanded the CCTV network and made it easier for law enforcement to tap into. It was framed by the government as being a necessary step to keep the public safe (Hempel and Topfor 2009) Another area of surveillance that was expanded upon was the capacity of governments to collect data on internet usage. This expansion has been additionally augmented by the information sharing that goes on between countries, allowing for tracking of people's activity (Brown and Korff 2009). ...
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In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, law enforcement in the United States began to employ powers and tactics that infringe upon the civil liberties of the suspects that they targeted. Though some of these uses have been challenged and reversed in the courts, there is still a portion of the population that believes that tactics like these, even up to torture, have been justified to combat terrorism. This study seeks to use General Social Survey data about people’s views of the use of expanded police and surveillance powers to combat terrorism to compare these with people’s age, sex, race, education, political ideology, and trust in different branches of the government. This will improve our understanding of who puts more emphasis on security over civil liberties when it comes to terrorist suspects. Through this analysis, it is found that political ideology was not as important as was thought in the literature. It was found that confidence in the military was the strongest indicator of people favoring policies that expanded surveillance and gave increased power to go after terrorist suspects.
... In generale, il 68,4% dei cittadini dichiara di ritenere utile o molto utile che l' Amministrazione comunale installi sistemi di videosorveglianza, mentre il 12,1% ritiene che aumentare la videosorveglianza in città sia poco o per nulla utile, visto il già elevato livello di sicurezza percepito in città (Caneppele et al. 2019a) (Fig. 3). Questi valori sono in linea o di poco inferiori ad altri sondaggi condotti nel Regno Unito, in Francia e in Germania, che indicano un'opinione favorevole compresa tra il 70% e il 90% (Hempel & Töpfer, 2009, IPSOS, 2007. Anche secondo un recente sondaggio realizzato a livello nazionale, il 79,8% degli intervistati considera che la videosorveglianza sia uno strumento utile per sorvegliare gli spazi pubblici (Baier, 2019 ...
... 3) Manual searches of other CCTV study bibliographies. We conducted manual searches of the following theoretical articles, policy essays, qualitative studies, and literature reviews published in the last 10 years: Adams and Ferryman (2015); Alexandrie (2017); Augustina and Clavell (2011); Gannoni, Willis, Taylor, and Lee (2017); Hempel and Topfer (2009); Hier (2010); Hollis-Peel, Reynald, van Bavel, Elffers, and Welsh (2011); Keval and Sasse (2010); Lett, Hier, and Walby (2012); Lorenc et al. (2013); Piza (2018b); Taylor (2010); Welsh, Farrington, and Taheri (2015); and Woodhouse (2010). ...
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Research Summary We report on the findings of an updated systematic review and meta‐analysis of the effects of closed‐circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras on crime. The findings show that CCTV is associated with a significant and modest decrease in crime. The largest and most consistent effects of CCTV were observed in car parks. The results of the analysis also demonstrated evidence of significant crime reductions within other settings, particularly residential areas. CCTV schemes incorporating active monitoring generated larger effect sizes than did passive systems. Schemes deploying multiple interventions alongside CCTV generated larger effect sizes than did schemes deploying single or no other interventions alongside CCTV. Policy Implications The results of this systematic review—based on 40 years of evaluation research—lend support for the continued use of CCTV to prevent crime as well as reveal a greater understanding of some of the key mechanisms of effective use. Of particular salience is the continued need for CCTV to be narrowly targeted on vehicle crimes and property crime and not be deployed as a “stand‐alone” crime prevention measure. As CCTV surveillance continues to expand its reach in both public and private space and evolve with new technology, policy will benefit from high‐quality evaluations of outcomes and implementation.
... The camera acceptance scale produced a pre-camera average of 3.67 and a post-camera average of 3.71, scores not significantly different. They indicate that, in general and as found in previous general public studies of support for cameras surveillance (see Hempel and Töpfer 2009;Pavone and Esposti 2012), park visitors initially supported and continued to support the use of police camera systems. With acceptance of surveillance cameras consistently high, how did park visitor perceptions of the test park before and after cameras shift? ...
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Surveillance cameras have become a popular response to crime and disorder in urban parks. The literature regarding park surveillance cameras however is sparse and few have examined the impact of park surveillance cameras. This research study examined a five camera police department network in a southern US municipal park. The study measured pre- and post-camera effects on reported crime, calls for service, and park visitor perceptions. Analysis determined that although the surveillance cameras had minimal impact on crime or disorder they were related to park visitor perceptions of the park. A camera surveilled park was seen more positively following police camera installation even though perceptions of the effectiveness of surveillance cameras decreased.
... Thus, the assemblage's only unity is that of co-functioning: it is a symbiosis, a 'sympathy' (Deleuze and Parnet 1987, p. 69). In the current context, however, the liaisons between the heterogeneous racial terms of the Rainbow Nation evince no unity of co-functioning but 'the illusion of total inclusion' so aptly described by Haggerty and Ericson (2000) and applied by Hempel and Töpfer (2009). ...
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A critical function of post‐9/11 surveillance worldwide was to manage the ‘terrorist’ spectacle in public spaces such as airports and stadia. With the prospect of the 2010 World Cup looming large, aviation security in South Africa had accordingly gained significance in proportion to the expansion of airports and construction of stadium infrastructure countrywide. Private sector and government intentions to defend and consolidate the developmental spinoffs of expansion and infrastructure construction were expected and, with this, real and perceived threats from both ‘terrorists’ and banned football hooligans from Europe seem to demand surveillance based on racial profiling. The resultant profile picture of surveillance, this paper argues, is in monochrome: black terrorists and white yobs. Mobilising Deleuze and Guattari's theoretical work on deterritorialisation – based on the destabilisation of traditional concepts of territory – aviation ports of entry are seen to transmogrify into points of entry into the public discourse of the Arabic‐African militant, on the one hand, and the English‐European yob menace, on the other. In the final analysis, surveillance discourse moves beyond the confines of the airport and enters the public domain as it conflates the political (militant) and the social (menace) in a single, profiled, ossified narrative of ‘race’.
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Despite such an intensive spread of digital technologies in policing and law enforcement not too many studies have addressed citizens attitudes towards these shifts. If robots are to be introduced for performing policing function it is not only necessary to test whether they are effective in fulfilling their tasks, but also whether citizens perceive them as safe and capable of providing protection. We use data obtained from a sample of 570 students from the two large universities in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia to explore attitudes towards use of robots in street patrolling. Results show that young people are willing to accept surveillance in public places, but are unsupportive of online surveillance tools and regulations. Our research finds that half of the young citizens of St. Petersburg are supportive of robocops patrolling the streets. These positive attitudes are produced by fear of police and fear of victimization. They are enhanced by acceptance of other surveillance technologies (such as surveillance cameras) and willingness to use other digital innovations (such as accident-reporting apps and unmanned cars). When technology acceptance is not considered gender differences can be observed: compared to females, males have greater support for robots. Perceptions of police legitimacy are not related to attitudes to robots used for patrolling.
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